IN AUGUST 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse brought an AR-15-style rifle to downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the name of law and order. As protests and riots raged in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the 17-year-old Blue Lives Matter enthusiast felt called to serve as an amateur armed guard for a Kenosha car dealership. He ended up shooting two unarmed protesters dead and blowing off another’s right biceps—without committing a crime.
Or so a Wisconsin jury decreed on Friday. After three and half days of deliberation, the jurors found that Rittenhouse was not guilty of reckless homicide, intentional homicide, or recklessly endangering public safety. This verdict was legally defensible. Yet it exposed the anarchy latent in America’s peculiar combination of lax gun regulations, expansive self-defense rights, and mass gun ownership.
These are the case’s undisputed facts. Bystanders’ cell-phone videos establish that 36-year-old protester Joseph Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse into a parking lot, shouted “Fuck you!,” and threw a plastic bag at his back; that a different protester fired a gun into the sky; that immediately following this shot, Rittenhouse ceased fleeing and turned around; and that Rosenbaum then moved toward Rittenhouse, who proceeded to fire four times, killing Rosenbaum.
Those shots attracted the attention of nearby demonstrators. One ran up behind Rittenhouse and hit him in the head, another kicked the gunman to the ground. Then 26-year-old Anthony Huber whacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard and appeared to reach for his rifle; Rittenhouse shot Huber through the heart, instantly killing him. Gaige Grosskreutz, a now-27-year-old paramedic, approached and pointed a handgun at Rittenhouse; Rittenhouse nearly blew Grosskreutz’s right arm off.
In Wisconsin, as in most U.S. states, the prosecution bears the burden of disproving self-defense claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, at his trial, Rittenhouse did not need to prove that each shooting in Kenosha was an act of self-defense; the prosecution needed to prove that this was not the case.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
13,000 Pounds at 118 Miles Per Hour
The wreck of a limo near Albany was the deadliest U.S. Transportation disaster in a decade. And the man behind it was one of the most notorious confidential informants in FBI history.
The Undoing of Joss Whedon
The Buffy creator, once an icon of Hollywood feminism, is now an outcast accused of misogyny. How did he get here?
Last Sane Man on Wall Street
Nathan Anderson made his name exposing—and betting against—corporate fraud. But short selling in a frothy pandemic economy can be ruinous.
72 minutes with… Connor Pardoe
Pickleball, once a game for the 50-plus crowd, exploded during the pandemic. This sports commissioner wants to turn it into a national pastime.
The novelist tends to torture her gay male characters—but only so she can swoop in to save them.
A cabaret star asks: Can you find yourself without leaving home?
Mitski in Nine Acts
If the musician has to reveal herself at all, she’d rather do it one short burst at a time.
SEE SPOT PAINT
Agnieszka Pilat has become the Silicon Valley elite’s favorite artist. Even The Matrix’s Neo owns her work.
The City Politic: Errol Louis
The Eric Adams Show: A beginning stocked with masterstrokes, gaffes, and eyebrow-raising appointments.
The Money Game: Choire Sicha
America’s Quarter-Life: Crisis Where’s our change? The answer is gnarlier than you’d expect.
Back to Business
Milwaukee reopens with new and resumed projects on tap.
“ TOUCH THE MOON ” WITHOUT LEAVING EARTH
Discovering Similarites Between Space and the Upper Midwestern U.S.
FOXCONN MULLS MAKING ELECTRIC VEHICLES AT WISCONSIN PLANT
Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, is considering making electric vehicles at its highly anticipated Wisconsin plant that has been scaled back since its announcement in 2017, the company’s chairman said this week.
USPS SELECTS OSHKOSH DEFENSE TO BUILD GREENER MAIL TRUCK
The United States Post Office said that it has chosen Oshkosh Defense to build its next-generation mail-delivery vehicle, part of an effort to make the USPS more environmentally friendly by switching a portion of its huge fleet to electric vehicles.
FOXCONN LOOKING AT BUILDING ELECTRIC CARS IN WISCONSIN
Foxconn Technology Group said it has signed a deal with a California startup to build electric cars, conceivably at Foxconn’s facility in Wisconsin.
Region To Region
Region To Region
Genetic Study Yields Answers
STUDY SUGGESTS LEECH STRAIN IS NOT THE ‘SILVER BULLET’ FOR WISCONSIN MUSKY WATERS
The Eye Of The Tiger
BIG HEAT, FIRST MEAT, AND POST-FRONTAL CONDITIONS ARE PATTERNS THE AUTHOR HAS IDENTIFIED FOR HOOKING HYBRIDS
Turn a Classic Wooden Bat
Learn how to beat the chatter.
BLOOD IN THE STREETS!
Terrorists’ secret civil war tearing America apart